Project's Summary

KITE Architects, a renowned architectural studio, developed an ambitious master plan in 2003 for the long-term growth of the School of Architecture, Art, and Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University. Building upon the success of their original 1984 design, the studio also designed an immediate expansion to meet the evolving needs of the university. This expansion aimed to foster interdisciplinary interaction, provide suitable spaces for graduate work, and enhance visibility to both the university and the wider community.

Despite a modest budget and a tight schedule, the new construction project successfully capitalized on both functional and aesthetic opportunities. The addition stands out as a contemporary structure, thanks to its high-performance rainscreen cladding system, generous use of glazing, and simple geometric forms. The integration of free-standing masonry piers not only connects the new work with the original building but also supports shading louvers that employ sustainable, passive solar strategies.

Notably, this project was among the first in the United States to embrace the Trespa cladding system. This rain screen system effectively reduces air and water infiltration while providing a highly durable exterior panel. By incorporating this innovative solution, the architects achieved a visually striking and environmentally conscious design.

The expansion project included several remarkable features that fostered cross-discipline collaboration. A new 99-seat lecture hall, an indoor exhibition gallery, and an outdoor sculpture court were incorporated into the design. Particularly noteworthy is the integration of a rear projection digital media screen into the architecture, adding a unique multimedia element. Moreover, the graduate architecture studios, art department faculty and review spaces, and dramatic public interiors further promoted collaboration and creative synergy among students and faculty.

In conclusion, the master plan and subsequent expansion project undertaken by KITE Architects at Roger Williams University's School of Architecture, Art, and Historic Preservation have proven to be a resounding success. The functional and visually appealing addition not only addresses the university's immediate needs but also lays the foundation for long-term growth. Through its thoughtful design, sustainable strategies, and innovative features, the project stands as a testament to the studio's expertise and commitment to creating dynamic spaces for interdisciplinary learning and collaboration.

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